This week’s AEW Rampage featured Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson in tag team action while Darby Allin defended the TNT Title.
I didn’t do Rampage reviews for the last two weeks of December. Life was too busy. I don’t think I had a single person ask or complain about it, which makes me wonder if people care about Rampage much at all. As usual for Rampage, I’ll do a summary review of the matches and then play-by-play for one match. This week I’ll do that for the first match.
This aired live on TNT followed by Battle of the Belts V. I am not reviewing Battle of the Belts V. Sorry. I review enough.
It’s Friday night and you know what that means. The commentary team was Excalibur, Jim Ross, Chris Jericho and Tony Schiavone. Good to have Jericho back.
Jon Moxley was making his entrance and Dante Martin hit him with a somersault dive on the floor. Bryan Danielson tried a dive on Top Flight, but they caught him so the move didn’t work.
Blackpool Combat Club (Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley) vs. Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin)
The Martin brothers hit a bunch of combination moves with clotheslines, a senton bomb and a standing moonsault. Bryan tagged in with kicks to Dante’s back repeatedly. Bryan worked over Dante with a barrage of kicks in the corner. Bryan hit a running corner dropkick, a kick to the chest and chops. Bryan went for a hurricanrana off the top, Dante flipped and landed on his feet followed by a dropkick. Darius tagged in with a missile dropkick, Moxley tagged in and Darius hit a dropkick. Moxley kicked Dante in the gut and all four guys were in the ring for a face off. Moxley gave Martin a back body drop over the top to the floor. Bryan sent Darius out of the ring. Moxley hit a running boot to the face of Dante. Instead of counting the wrestlers out, referee Aubrey Edwards did nothing. There was a double dropkick on Darius against the barricade. Back in the ring, Bryan did the surfboard submission to Dante followed by Bryan trapping him in a Dragon sleeper-style move. Moxley was back in with kicks to the body along with a superplex leading to an armbar. Bryan tagged in as the show went to break.
Dante was still isolated, but he avoided a double kick and brought Darius into the match. Darius jumped off Bryan’s back leading to a jumping kick to Moxley. Bryan gave Darius a hard slap, Darius came back with some hard chops and Bryan ran into a Spanish Fly by Darius. Moxley tagged in leading to Darius hitting a springboard flatliner. Dante was back in with a senton cross body block on Moxley for two. Darius with a DDT while Dante hit a sitout slam on Moxley for two. Darius went up top and hit a Frog Splash that led to nothing because Moxley no sold it leading to elbows to the head. Dante countered a move with a victory roll and Moxley hit a king kong lariat for a two count. That move gave Hangman Page a concussion because he landed on his head after it while Dante did a full flip after it. Bryan tagged in, Moxley was sent out of the ring and Dante hit a dive on him. Bryan kicked Darius (legal man) in the head and Bryan hit a Busaiko knee, but Dante broke up the pin. Darius rolled up Bryan for a two count. Bryan with a roundhouse kick on Darius while Moxley jumped off the top with a double sledge on Dante on the floor. Bryan stomped on Darius’ head followed by the STF submission with Darius passed out. It went 14 minutes.
Winners by submission: Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very entertaining match with two of the best in AEW (Bryan & Mox) against an exciting young tag team. The action after the break was terrific because the first half was mostly the BCC guys in control. I do like seeing Top Flight in matches like this just because they will get better by working with these guys, but at some point, you need to give a team like Top Flight a win in a match like this. It wasn’t going to happen here because Bryan and Moxley are pushed so much. I think Top Flight and Private Party that AEW needs to try to push this year. The Acclaimed got a big push in 2022 that they deserved. Let’s see some other teams get a shot this year.
There was a backstage promo with “Hangman” Adam Page with papers about how he is now cleared to wrestle again. Hangman said he wanted Moxley to remember every second of what Hangman does to him. Page mocked the Blackpool Combat Club getting horny watching MMA too. Page said he’ll be wiping Moxley’s blood off his hands to make sure he doesn’t catch something. Page said he’ll see Moxley at the Forum in LA on Wednesday.
Analysis: That Moxley/Hangman match has been built up so well. AEW is making that LA show a big one.
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. & Jamie Hayter (w/Rebel) vs. The Renegades (Robyn & Charlette)
The fans had loud reactions for Baker and Hayter with mostly cheers even though they are heels. Baker and Hayter attacked before the bell to knock their opponents out of the ring. Robyn hit an impressive running dropkick on Hayter. There was a double team suplex attempt, but Hayter countered it with suplexes on both women. Tony Schiavone said “oh my god” as if he’s never seen that spot before because Tony reacts to spots as if he is seeing things for the first time. Baker hit a Slingblade on Robyn leading to a PIP break.
The heels had isolated Robyn, then Charlette tagged in with a flapjack and a spinebuster. Charlette hit a Fisherman’s Suplex for two. Baker hit a sloppy double underhook suplex, but kudos to Charlette jumping to try to sell it right. Baker and Hayter hit double team elbows, then a running clothesline by Hayter and Baker hit The Stomp on Charlette (I guess) for the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. & Jamie Hayter
Analysis: **3/4 It was more competitive than I thought it would be. It’s also because AEW likes doing picture-in-picture breaks during matches. If not for that it was a five-minute match. Anyway, Hayter and Baker are in the big tag team match on Dynamite next week, so it was just a simple match to give them a win.
Jericho said that The Renegades lost, but like Top Flight earlier, they won because they put up a fight. That’s wrestler speak for telling the audience that the outcomes of the matches were obvious, but at least the team that lost got some offense.
There was a House of Black promo with Malakai Black addressing Eddie Kingston saying he missed his friend. Black said he missed the violent bastard that Black knows and loves. Brody King issued a warning to Eddie, Buddy Matthews said that Eddie was sick and Julia Hart said that they were there to help him. Excalibur summarized it like they were recruiting Eddie.
Analysis: It’s something for Eddie Kingston to do, I guess. Eddie hasn’t had much to do for months, so at least it’s a story for him.
Preston Vance (aka Perro Peligroso) (w/Jose The Assistant) vs. Sonico
Vance hit a spinebuster, a brief Full Nelson submission and then a discus lariat for the pinfall win. It went about 40 seconds.
Winner by pinfall: Preston Vance
Analysis: 1/4* Squash city to put over Vance.
Post match, Vance ripped Sonico’s mask off his head with the fans booing that. Sonico turned to his side and they never showed his face. We don’t know much about Sonico anyway.
They showed Darby Allin with the TNT Title after his win with Renee Paquette trying to interview him. Mike Bennett, Matt Taven and Matt’s wife Maria interrupted the promo. Mike said he’s worked everywhere in pro wrestling, he’s done a lot and he challenged Allin to a TNT Title match. Allin accepted. Taven on Allin: “He’s so brooding.” He is.
The main event took place with TNT Champion Darby Allin on one side and Mike Bennett with Taven and Maria on the other side. Bennett talked about how he’s seen real darkness, he said most people don’t survive that and he’ll introduce the “REAL” Mike Bennett. Allin said that Portland is where he had his first match. Allin said that their pasts don’t matter, all that matters is the TNT Championship and told Mark to hit his line.
They did a rundown of what was coming up at Battle of the Belts show. Spoiler: No titles changed hands. Shocking.
Here’s the AEW Dynamite lineup for next Wednesday, January 11th in Los Angeles:
* Jon Moxley vs. “Hangman” Adam Page
* Jericho Appreciation Society will speak
* Jamie Hayter & Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. vs. Saraya & Toni Storm
* Bryan Danielson vs. Konosuke Takeshita
* Big Bill & Lee Moriarty vs. JungleHook – Jungle Boy & Hook
* AEW World Trios Championship Best Of 7 Series: Death Triangle vs. The Elite in an Escalara De La Muerte Match (Ladder Match).
Analysis: That’s a strong lineup in LA. The Warner Brothers Discovery executives will be on hand too, so AEW is loading up.
TNT Championship: Darby Allin vs. Mike Bennett (w/Maria Kanellis-Bennett & Matt Taven)
Allin was in control early, then he went to the turnbuckle and Bennett kicked the knee to knock Allin out of the ring. Bennett sent Allin into the barricade and then a running kick. Allin got some offense going with a dropkick to knock Bennett off the apron. Allin hit a suicide dive on Taven, who pushed Bennett out of the way. Bennett gave Allin a legsweep off the apron to the floor leading to a break.
Bennett was in control with a Death Valley Driver. Jericho said he’d be very surprised if Allin lost the title two days after he won it. The audience has the same feeling. They left the ring with Allin sending Bennett into the barricade. Allin put Bennett on a chair on the floor, Bennet had to wait there for like ten seconds for Allin to climb to the top and Allin hit a missile dropkick on Bennett on the floor. The fans chanted “Holy Shit” for that. Back in the ring, Maria crawled into the ring to cover Bennett. The referee cleared Maria from the ring, Bennett kicked Allin and Bennett hit a piledriver for two. They battled by the turnbuckle with Allin hitting an Avalanche Code Red off the ropes. Allin hit a Coffin Drop off the top onto Bennett for the pinfall win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Darby Allin
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with Allin doing his usual thing where he takes a beating and hits a few moves to get the win. I liked the nearfall for Bennett after Taven got the cheap shot kick, but that was really the only moment where it looked like Bennett had a shot. Allin’s two big moves at the end were great. I loved that dropkick off the top to the floor too.
The announcers plugged Battle of the Belts up next. Allin celebrated the win. End show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Bryan Danielson & Jon Moxley
- Darby Allin
- Top Flight
This Week: 7 out of 10
Last Week: No review
There were good matches this week, so that’s a positive and made it easy to watch. It’s fun watching Danielson & Moxley as a team while Top Flight has a bright future. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter had a tag team match win too. Darby Allin beat Mike Bennett in the TNT Title match main event that had an obvious result. Some big spots by Darby as usual. None of the results were surprising of course, but the matches were fun for the most part.
The crowd in Portland was very loud just like the Seattle fans. It’s nice that AEW finally went to the northwest US because those fans are always very vocal.
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